You Really CAN'T Go Home Again
Klang! A Writer’s Commentary is a series of essays
about my experience co-creating and writing Quantum &
Woody for Acclaim Comics and, later, Valiant
Entertainment. The quirky, humorous, and yes, poignant
relationship depicted between the two main characters echoed
that of their creators, including the volatile episodes of
deeply entrenched creative differences.
Klang! began as a simple website entry but it grew and took on a life of its own, leading me to post it to my Kindle store along with some unpublished scripts and early drafts. It is an account I’ve taken a lot of heat for from people who absolutely were not there and therefore have no idea what they are talking about, but that’s the fun part of being in this business. If I wasn’t clear enough in the essays, let me try it here: I, myself, me, am just as much to blame as anyone else for the turbulent creative process. It was a group mugging, one which, sadly, forced me to leave Eric and Woody behind in a fnal story that was not all it could or should have been. Klang! is a cautionary tale of a kind of group insanity clashing the best of intentions into a deeply disappointing creative experience, one which ultimately led to a parting of ways on far less-than-ideal circumstances. More about Klang! here.
The basic premise here is fairly simple: a murder mystery
narrated by the victim. My agent declined to shop Dual
because of this narrative choice and encouraged me to
rewrite it. But the murder victim’s snarky tone is the live
wire of the story, and it’s not as if this technique’s never
been used before (Sunset Strip). Dual is a
drama-romance-mystery centering around a pair of exotic
identical twins. One of them is a murderer, and it falls
upon Queens County District Attorney Detective Gerry
Martinez to figure out which or risk a mistrial. Things go
wildly out of control, involving international political
intrigue and mysterious gunmen out to kill one or both of
the twins as Gerry finds himself inexorably drawn to first
one twin and then the other. He learns that, to fall in love
with one is to fall in love with both. And, falling in love
with both can get you killed. More on Dual
Gerry also appears in the prequel short story 50Seven Seconds, where he runs afoul of his District Attorney bosses and is forced to serve penance by going undercover as a Columbian arms dealer pedaling automatic weapons to a terrorist cell. Inspired by the late Elmore Leonard’s eclectic humanism, 50Seven Seconds presents a kind of gathering of imbeciles from which description the antihero himself is not excluded as the shady arms deal goes sideways and all hell breaks loose deep beneath the streets of New York.
Zion is a procedural crime drama about a New York
City Fire Marshal who is investigating the arson of a church
with whose married pastor she’s been having an affair. The
New Greater Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, the
dominant megachurch in Far Rockaway, Queens, is revealed to
have been a clandestine money-laundering “bank” run by an
alliance of local ministers on behalf of a dangerous drug
cartel under the protection of corrupt police officials.
Zion’s firebombing unsettles the fragile alliance, turning
the players against one another and all of them looking for
Kai Tremaine, Mount Zion's pastor, who has vanished under a
cloud of suspicion. Michael Zoe Dallas, the arson
investigator, is the last person to have seen Tremaine
alive. Caught in the crossfire between the disintegrating
cops-preachers-crooks alliance, she furtively attempts to
unravel the deepening mystery of Zion’s bombing and its
Zion is, frankly, about the seeming unstemable tide of gross moral failure on the part of church leadership, and the antichrist culture of ego, materialism, and hedonism that has in large measure reduced the African American church to a corrupt caricature of its former glory. This disgraceful “Aunt Esther / Madea” climate is so widespread and so accepted as part of the African American “culture,” that I am hard-pressed to even refer to these places as “churches” anymore, as they have—in practice—sharply diverged from the personal example of Jesus Christ.
Caught in a political headlock by equally corrupt cop and FDNY bosses, Dallas must descend into this snake pit of huckster pastors in order to solve the mystery before unseen forces mark her as a suspect.
Omnipedia: The complete eBook collection.
The PraiseNet Essentials are a series of ecumenical essays
written about the black church. There are a wide variety of
topics, including African American church tradition versus
theology, organization, internal politics, purpose,
doctrine, and an in-depth analysis of the strengths and
weaknesses of African American church culture. Here I get to
flex my pastoral muscles with a collection of pointed,
irreverent, contextually critical no-holds-barred
observations based upon more than fifty years of service to
the African American church.
The series includes: Fear of A Black Church, Black Faith 101, The Levite’s Concubine, The Glass House, Sex & The Single Christian, LGBT: In The Name of God.
Christopher J. Priest
28 June 2016
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